Evaluating the correspondence between face-, scene-, and object-selectivity and retinotopic organization within lateral occipitotemporal cortex

Edward H. Silson, Iris I. A. Groen, Dwight J. Kravitz, Chris I. Baker

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The organization of human lateral occipitotemporal cortex (lOTC) has been characterized largely according to two distinct principles: retinotopy and category-selectivity. Whereas category-selective regions were originally thought to exist beyond retinotopic maps, recent evidence highlights overlap. Here, we combined detailed mapping of retinotopy, using population receptive fields (pRF), and category-selectivity to examine and contrast the retinotopic profiles of scene-(occipital place area, OPA), face- (occipital face area, OFA) and object- (lateral occipital cortex, LO) selective regions of lOTC. We observe striking differences in the relationship each region has to underlying retinotopy. Whereas OPA overlapped multiple retinotopic maps (including V3A, V3B, LO1, and LO2), and LO overlapped two maps (LO1 and LO2), OFA overlapped almost none. There appears no simple consistent relationship between category-selectivity and retinotopic maps, meaning category-selective regions are not constrained spatially to retinotopic map borders consistently. The multiple maps that overlap OPA suggests it is likely not appropriate to conceptualize it as a single scene-selective region, whereas the inconsistency in any systematic map overlapping OFA suggests it may constitute a more uniform area. Beyond their relationship to retinotopy, all three regions evidenced strongly retinotopic voxels, with pRFs exhibiting a significant bias towards the contralateral lower visual field, despite differences in pRF size, contributing to an emerging literature suggesting this bias is present across much of lOTC. Taken together, these results suggest that whereas category-selective regions are not constrained to consistently contain ordered retinotopic maps, they nonetheless likely inherit retinotopic characteristics of the maps from which they draw information.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Vision
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 22 Apr 2016


  • retinotopy
  • category-selectivity
  • population receptive fields
  • acylation

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